Rasheeda Frost is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of the boxes she’s been placed in. She launched her rap career in her teens as part of a Hip-hop girl group. But rather than just rest on her talent, she quickly made sure she understood — and could take control of — the behind the scenes aspects of the music business by founding her own label with husband, Kirk Frost.
After over 10 years of success, she added reality TV star to her belt by joining the cast of VH1’s Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta in 2012.
But she had more work to do. Stepping deeper into entrepreneurship, she launched Poiz Cosmetics and grew a multi-million dollar boutique, Pressed, to two locations — Atlanta and Houston. And she’s set to launch a digital fitness video and program this year.
Rasheeda’s resilient spirit and drive to conquer what’s next extends into her family life. As a millennial wife and mom of a toddler, the super connectedness and sometimes overexposure of social media is amplified by her fame. But she strives to define her own success through both strength and vulnerability. I spoke with her about being a multi-passionate entrepreneur, conquering the fear of failure after success and who supports and inspires her to keep building.
Shani Syphrett: You could rest on the fame of any of your past (or current) careers, what pushes you to keep trying new things?
Rasheeda Frost: It’s important to not be complacent. I’ve always been driven to create things. I have vision boards of what I want to accomplish and I keep myself motivated to get things done. It’s also important to do the things you enjoy and solve problems that are relevant to you. Take my exercise video, I get so much pleasure and gratification from working out and being healthy has always been a part of my life. I was a gymnast as a young girl and played basketball throughout high school. It’s easy to be active when you’re young. But it’s an uphill battle when you start having kids and seeing that weight is falling on you a little differently and staying on a little longer. I’m on TV, so I always want to look my best. But it’s a problem that anyone can have. I am helping people take care of themselves while I take care of myself.
Syphrett: There is a certain bravado associated with being a rapper. Now that you’ve transitioned into entrepreneurship, are there times when you don’t feel as confident?
Frost: Yes and I think it affects a lot of women, especially when you’re trying something new after already being in the limelight. I was always an outlier in my music career. I was an independent artist on my own label and I was a woman trying to gain respect in a male-dominated industry. It was tough and it took a toll on me. I doubted myself and felt like I had to work so much harder than anyone else. My ambition and self-respect kept me going. Now that I am a business owner, I have doubted if I could keep going and be successful with the many things I am working on. But you only get one shot at life. I need to go after the things I want so that when I get older, I can relax, travel, and take care of my children.
Syphrett: Who are the people you trust to support you and get things done?
Frost: Building the right team is one of the hardest parts of running a business. But it’s trial and error. My mother, my aunt and my stepdaughter help me tremendously, And then there’s my partner, Kirk. We have a lot of things that go on with us personally but, on the business side of things, he executes extremely well and we work very well together as a team. And that goes way back to the beginning, from the music to the businesses we have now.
When it comes to my employees, I’m creating a family environment and making sure everyone who works for me enjoys what they do and likes to come to work. I put a lot of effort into showing them that I appreciate them. I’m leading by example. I hope my dedication and drive inspire the people around me.
Syphrett: How have you been able to leverage your current platform to succeed in business?
Frost: It starts with setting a goal and sticking to it, no matter what. Many people turn their reality TV fame into businesses where they’re only a brand ambassador — they aren’t running things. I’m not that type of businesswoman. I am very hands on. I do the hard, behind the scenes work that has grown my business to the multi-million dollar mark. And I use my platform to amplify what I am already doing. Love and Hip Hop may have many millions of people watching but I am still dedicated to my businesses. And because of that hard work, I am able to reap the benefits of it.
Syphrett: A few of your toughest times have played out on the set of Love and Hip Hop. How are you able to protect your well being while the world is watching?
Frost: It is really hard to protect anything in the world we live in today. Social media allows people to judge you and try to talk you out of your damn goals and dreams while they’re sitting at home pushing buttons and probably not doing anything for themselves. But, at the end of the day, I just try to live my life for me and not take in all of the things that people say. I ignore the comments, most of the time. I just continue to press forward knowing that I can’t please everyone. I focus on what I need to do to be happy and successful and not what everybody thinks I need to do. People aren’t always going to agree with me but many of them haven’t been through what I have been through.
Syphrett: What advice would you give to other women interested in defining success of their terms?
Frost: Many women ask me how I balance all of the things that I do it. And it’s really about staying driven and being flexible. There isn’t one right path to be successful. But, it definitely comes from personal motivation, drive and being ok with not knowing the answers. You also can’t let others discourage you. We live in a time where people are always trying to knock your hustle or take you out of the game by trying to be your competition. Even if you’re doing something that someone else is doing, figure out a way to do it your own way, a better way. Find your niche and grow from there.
Syphrett: Who inspires you?
Frost: As a Black woman, Oprah and Michelle Obama are just amazing role models but one of my biggest inspirations is actually [P.] Diddy. I stayed at his place in Miami, with friends, when I was in town for T.I. and Tiny’s wedding and the experience changed my outlook on success and really living life. He is very calculated with the business moves he makes and it shows in his home. It was an inspiration to see the lifestyle his success has created for him — butlers, maids, groundsmen, chefs — and I knew I had to step my game up and work hard so I can live like that. There are levels of success and you have to keep climbing. That was a few years ago but I still think about it.
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